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Govan, Glasgow, Scotland Collection
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Oral history project on the changing work identity of Govan's shipbuilders c. 1960-2016

  • GB 249 SOHC 33
  • Collection
  • August - October 2016

Oral history project conducted in 2016 by Rory Stride as research for his undergraduate history dissertation, ‘“Proud to be a Clyde shipbuilder. Clyde built”: The changing work identity of Govan’s shipbuilders, c.1960-present.’ The collection comprises interviews with seven men who were employed as shipbuilders between c.1960 and 2016 at Govan’s three shipyards: Alexander Stephen and Sons, Fairfield’s, and Harland and Wolff. The interviews were conducted in a variety of places across Glasgow. The interview questions were semi-structured and largely directed by the responses of the participants. Topics discussed include trade unions, working conditions, occupational injury, masculinity, politics, staff camaraderie, redundancy and periods of employment at different companies. There is a focus throughout the interviews on indicators and expression of masculine identity including alcohol consumption, paid employment and macho attitudes in the yards. The interviews also cover the workers' interactions with the trade union movement, focusing on their experiences of strike action. In addition, some of the key episodes in the Clyde’s shipbuilding history during the twentieth century are covered including: the closure of Harland and Wolff; the closure of Alexander Stephen and Sons; the Norwegian company Kvaerner’s takeover of the Fairfield yard from British Shipbuilders in 1988 and the withdrawal of Kvaerner from Govan in 1999 which threatened the existence of shipbuilding on the Clyde heading in to the twenty-first century.

Stride, Rory, fl. 2016, student at University of Strathclyde